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Taiwan continues to protest WHO name dispute

2012/05/17 17:23:57

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) Taiwan will continue to protest to theWorld Health Organization (WHO) over an internal document issuedlast September instructing members to refer to Chinese Taipei inthe future as "Taiwan, province of China," the Ministry of ForeignAffairs said Thursday.

It made the statement after the U.S. State Department expressed concern in a recent report to Congress over the WHO's lack of transparency in deciding Taiwan's official designation.

“Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta will express our firm stance on the issue when he arrives in Geneva for the annual conference of the World Health Assembly (WHA) next week,” said Steve Hsia, the ministry’s deputy spokesman.

The WHA, in which Taiwan has held observer status since 2009,is the WHO's decision-making arm.

The deputy spokesman, however, emphasized that Taiwan’s communication channels with the WHO have not been hampered by thename dispute.

"Taiwan does not need to go through China when it needs to make contact with the WHO," Hsia said.

He also took the opportunity to thank the U.S. for supporting Taiwan’s participation in various international organizations.

The furor was sparked when an opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator revealed to the media that an internal lettercirculated among WHO members last September by Anne Marie Warning,executive director of the office of WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, urged officials to use “Taiwan, province of China”insteadof the correct "Chinese Taipei" designation when referring toTaiwan in WHO publications.

Several protests have failed to elicit an official responsefrom the WHO.

(By Nancy Liu)